Lake Superior State University
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Ben Mitchell

Ben Mitchell
Mechanical Engineering '06

Ben Mitchell grew up in a devout household in the central Upper Peninsula of Michigan where emphasis was placed on helping others. He traveled with his father to places such as Kenya and Peru on short-term medical missions. When he was in Kenya, a missionary explained that engineers have the greatest potential to influence the largest number of people. During high school, Ben participated in a youth mission trip to Tijuana. A result of the mission trips, his family decided to adopt three Vietnamese children when he was a junior.

All of these experiences had a great influence on Ben’s outlook on life. He decided to major in mechanical engineering and enrolled at Lake Superior State University. Near the end of his senior year, he decided to volunteer for the Peace Corps to help others.

His two-year commitment began in the fall of 2007 and took Ben to Burkina Faso in western Africa. He resides in the village of Tansila, population 3,000, approximately 10 km from the Mali border. His host organization is the local cotton growers union. It works cooperatively with other villages to improve and expand their production techniques. He serves as an agribusiness advisor as a part of the Small Enterprise Development program which helps create market linkages and assists with the advancement of business skills.

Honors Program

Thesis Timeline

Fall Semester of the Junior Year

In the fall semester of the junior year, a student in the Honors Program decides the area of interest in which s/he wants to complete her/his honors thesis.  The student asks a faculty member in the discipline of interest to be her/his supervisor.  Thereafter, the student, in conjunction with the faculty member, writes a letter of intent to begin an honors thesis, addressed to the chair of the Honors Council.

Students may select a qualified individual in their area of interest outside the University to act as an advisor on the thesis in addition to the supervisor who must be a full-time faculty member of the University.  However, the University faculty member has authority over the direction of the thesis.

Spring Semester of the Junior Year

In the spring semester of the junior year, the honors student, under the direction of her/his faculty supervisor, writes an honors thesis proposal.  The proposal should state the topic, explain the purpose of the topic within the discipline, provide a plan of the steps required to complete the thesis, refer to at least some of the previous work in the area, and mention the consequence of the work. 

The Honors Council should receive the written proposal by the end of the 10th week of the appropriate semester.  Thereafter, the formal presentation of the proposal is scheduled by the chair of the Honors Council.

The proposal is presented by the student at a meeting of the Honors Council at which the supervisor is in attendance.  The Honors Council must have the opportunity to discuss the proposal with the student.  The Honors Council shall then consider the merits of the proposal in a session with the thesis supervisor but without the student.      

For the work to proceed, it must have the agreement of the majority of those Council members present at the Honors Council meeting.  The proposal should demonstrate the following:

  1. sufficient work has been accomplished such that the thesis is deemed viable,
  2. the scope of the project is significant yet not so large that the student cannot be reasonably expected to complete it.
  3. the project, when completed, will add to the understanding of a problem or issue judged to be of historical or contemporary significance in the field for which it is written.

The Honors Council may make suggestions to which the student and the faculty member must agree before the proposal can be formally accepted.

Fall Semester of the Senior Year

In the fall semester of the senior year, the student enrolls in HONR401 (or its equivalent in her/his major) and completes the thesis under the direction of her/his supervisor.  The student will meet with the Honors director the third Wednesday of October and November to discuss the progress of the thesis.

Spring Semester of the Senior Year

In the spring semester of the senior year, the student makes a public presentation of the thesis.  The thesis is presented after the supervisor determines that it is essentially complete.  The presentation and theses are due the 10th week of the semester.  The audience will include the Honors Council and all junior and senior Honors Program students.  Freshmen and sophomore Honors Program students may attend.  The thesis supervisor may select additional individuals to attend.

Exceptions

Students in a discipline in which a thesis is required to earn a bachelors degree may follow a different time line.  However, the requirements as set out above must be met.  The time lines for such students must be agreed upon at the time the proposal is presented to the Honors Council.

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ASME

First Place
Lake Superior State University

2007 ASME District B Student Professional Development Conference

Impromptu Design Contest

March 30-April 1, 2007
Ann Arbor, Michigan

Hosted by ASME Student Section, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

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